A Plague of Bogles (How to Catch a Bogle)
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Jem Barbary spent most of his early life picking pockets for a wily old crook named Sarah Pickles—until she betrayed him. Now Jem wants revenge, but first he needs a way to earn his living. He’d like to work for the bogler Alfred Bunce, who kills the child-eating monsters that lurk in the cellars and sewers of old London. But Alfred has wanted to give up bogling ever since he almost lost his last apprentice, Birdie McAdam.
As more and more children disappear under mysterious circumstances, though, Alfred, Jem, and Birdie find themselves waging an underground war. Soon they discover that there’s only one thing more terrifying than facing a whole plague of bogles: facing the sinister people from Jem’s past . . .
him, something exploded. He heard the crackling roar and saw the green flash. He even felt the heat. But by the time he’d slid sideways and righted himself, the flame had been snuffed out. Nothing was left of the bogle except a huge black scorch mark—and a truly awful smell of burnt hair. Even the salt had turned brown. “I don’t like the look o’ that,” Alfred said hoarsely. He was standing at the edge of the circle, his mustache singed and his face dusted with soot. When he disturbed the salt
Kerridge watched him with her bright, piercing eyes—and Jem watched Mrs. Kerridge, silently giving thanks that he wasn’t a student at her school. There was something formidable about Mrs. Kerridge. And all her talk of flogging and bullying didn’t appeal to him either. “I’ve one more thing to tell you, Mr. Bunce,” she suddenly confessed. “For some time now, several of the matrons and some of the kitchen staff . . .” She trailed off, then squared her shoulders, took a deep breath, and continued.
“How did you come by such a garment? I know it ain’t from Mr. Froome.” Jem’s smile faded. Was she accusing him of theft? “Mrs. Kerridge gave it to me.” “The matron? From the Bluecoat School?” Seeing Jem nod, Mabel narrowed her eyes. “Don’t tell me there’s a bogle in amongst all o’ them boys?” As Jem opened his mouth to reply, his gaze snagged on a familiar face at the other end of the counter. Josiah Lubbock was as red as sealing wax and sweating profusely. He smiled at Jem, then raised his
never lied to you,” Jem countered. “Not once.” “So what you bin keeping to yerself, then?” Alfred’s voice was growing rougher by the second. “Out with it. For I’ll not stand about in a coal-black London Particular, coughing up bits o’ lung, while I wait for you to fashion more lies—” “I saw Eunice Pickles.” Jem cut him off abruptly. “Two days ago, near the prison. She were heading for Warwick Lane.” Alfred absorbed this news in silence as an endless stream of swaddled pedestrians surged past
whatever you call ’em—bogles or boggarts or fachan—you’d not want to fall foul o’ one, believe me.” “Especially if you’re a child,” said Alfred. Ever since hearing about the babies in the basement, his face had looked drawn and bruised. Turning to Mr. Lubbock, he asked, “Did you hear Sal talk o’ feeding babies to bogles?” Mr. Lubbock shook his head. He had propped himself against the lowest banisters and was rubbing the angry red marks on his wrists. “I no sooner mentioned Sarah’s name to her